Although much has been reported regarding the ethics and legality behind the city of Houston's subpoena of five Houston-area pastors that had asked them to turn over all of their sermons that address homosexuality, gender identity, and the city's first openly-lesbian mayor, little attention has been given to who those five pastors actually are and the ministries they operate.
Although those five pastors, Steve Riggle, David Welch, Hernan Castaño, Khanh Huynh and Magda Hermida, were not technically parties of the lawsuit against the city's new equal rights ordinance that sparked the need for the subpoenas, they all participated in the coalition of 400 Houston area churches that stood in disapproval of the ordinance, which allows transgendered individuals to use public restrooms of the opposite gender.
Steve Riggle more >>
Two web series focusing on the lives of pastors have caught on with viewers and won awards, showing a shift in viewing from mainstream TV to online viewing.
The first series "Plant" is a mockumentary web series filmed in New York City. The show follows the lives of Rev. Todd Lawn and his wife Tammy as they leave the safety of the suburbs to develop a new ministry in the heart of the city. However, things are not quite as they seem in the city, and the pastor must deal with the threats from the pastor of a mega-church who wants his job. It's a "David vs. Goliath" story told in a modern day setting.
"Plant" was recognized for Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing at the Los Angeles Web Series Festival. Actresses Liz Days, Susannah Jones, and Peggy Queener were also recognized, as was writer Andrew Nielson. more >>
A church and state watchdog group has warned that the recent controversy over Houston city officials subpoenaing sermons from pastors may create a major conservative fundraising effort.
Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State wrote that Houston's legal move against pastors who oppose their recently passed LGBT ordinance will create a conservative backlash.
Writing for the Washington, D.C.-based group's blog "Wall of Separation," Boston argued that the incident "will launch a thousand right-wing fund-raising letters." more >>
Feeling confused about the Houston sermon subpoena scandal? Here are answers to five questions you may have.
Q: What happened?
A: In May, Houston city government passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) to ban discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity. After passage, opponents began collecting signatures to add a ballot measure to repeal the new law. more >>
Stop bullying people of faith. That's the bottom line of a harshly worded letter written by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to Houston City Attorney David Feldman.
Feldman's office sent subpoenas to five Houston pastors last month demanding that they turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality and gender identity issues. They also wanted sermons or correspondence that referenced Annise Parker, the city's first openly lesbian mayor.
The subpoenas were issued in a response to a lawsuit related to Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), also known as the "Bathroom Bill." more >>
The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and other liberal groups have expressed concern over Houston officials subpoenaing sermons that may have been critical of an LGBT discrimination city ordinance.
Recently the city subpoenaed various pastors' sermons due to their objection to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, a recently passed law that has strong conservative opposition.